April 21, 2024

Whole Community News

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City colleagues pay tribute to Dallas Boggs

20 min read
His sister shared that the Eugene Police Commission bylaws were integrated into Little Rock's new Public Safety Commission: "Your work is carrying on, and it has reach even beyond the boundaries of your own municipality."

The Eugene Police Commission and City Council paid tribute to the late Dallas Boggs. On March 11:

Mayor Lucy Vinis: We as a city experienced a terrible loss last Tuesday. An esteemed community member, Dallas Boggs, died suddenly at work.

And Dallas had played many important roles in our community. He was the chair of our Police Commission, a position that is very demanding and very important and very challenging. And he was, he had that role with incredible capacity to listen to people, to keep that process moving forward, to respect people. He did his work warmth and with strength.

He was serving on my Blue Ribbon Business Economic Development Panel and when I first talked to him about that—he was a long-time businessperson, business owner, co-owner of Brenner’s Furniture—and he not only jumped readily into taking on that volunteer role, but he did so saying, ‘I’m happy to do this, but I know other people who should take on this committee.’

[00:01:04] He always took the time to lift people up and provide them with an opportunity and make sure that voices were heard, and particularly the voices of people of color who often do not find themselves in positions where they’re going to be heard on those panels.

[00:01:19] And so a number of us are wearing pink today because Dallas Boggs was quite famous for his very aggressive fundraising tactics, ‘Men In Pink,’ on behalf of cancer research and breast cancer research in particular, so we’re wearing pink today to honor him.

[00:01:35] And as councilors share whatever other items they have, they may also take a few moments to acknowledge the importance of Dallas Boggs in our community, and our profound sense of loss that he is no longer with us, and our deep condolences to his family.

[00:01:53] Councilor Mike Clark: Thank you, Mayor, for that and for kicking off that tribute to Dallas in such good fashion. I too want to honor him for his service in multiple other organizations as well.

[00:02:07] The list is longer, and he served as a community asset, as a community leader, and someone that others could look to for his kind of inspirational spirit for wanting to get involved. And I certainly hope that his daughter Jada hears how many people were inspired by his energy and his willingness to work on behalf of others.

[00:02:36] Dallas was a good friend of mine for a couple of decades. I was actually looking in my house the other day (he worked at Brenner’s Furniture, he one of the co-owners there), every single major piece of furniture in my house I bought from Dallas at Brenner’s and I was looking at it the other day, get your table, check, furniture in the living room, all of it, yep, you know, my new bed frame, I mean pretty much everything of consequence, he was the guy I would call up.

And I admire him so much for what he did for our community and the spirit with which he brought to being a father and a friend and I, for one, will miss him very badly.

[00:03:19] Councilor Greg Evans: It’s hard for me to talk about Dallas. Like Councilor Clark, I’ve known Dallas for, you know, more than 25 years. We’ve worked together on several different projects, particularly in the African American community. He was the one that got the Black Professionals page started on Facebook, which connected a lot of us in the community to each other.

[00:03:45] Some of us who didn’t know each other became friends as a result of Dallas’s efforts and his connectivity and being kind of that social and cultural maven that we all need in a community like this where there is no central neighborhood or central point for African Americans or other minorities to gather, but he was able to do that in a virtual space, and we really appreciate what he’s done in that regard.

[00:04:20] Our condolences go out to his daughter. I remember when his wife passed many years ago., This is a great loss for our community and for many people who knew Dallas, some people knew him better than others, but there’s a number of us over the last few days that have had, I would say, very long and meaningful conversations about Dallas and the impact that he made in Eugene and he will be sorely missed and his legacy will not be forgotten.

[00:04:59] Councilor Randy Groves: I want to lend my voice to expressing my appreciation for Dallas Boggs. I knew him as a man of honesty and integrity. And he always put this community ahead of himself, which I think is remarkable.

[00:05:14] He was not afraid to confront or to have conflict. He recognized in the conflict is sometimes what is needed to work our way through issues and come out the other side with a good resolution.

[00:05:28] This community will miss him, will miss his leadership, and will miss his presence. He was a big man, but he had an even bigger personality, and that’s what I think I will remember most.

[00:05:42] Councilor Emily Semple: I didn’t meet Dallas until President’s Day. I had heard that he was considering running for Ward 1, but we had not met or talked about that, and then he decided not to, but President’s Day being furniture buying day and in really desperate need of a couch, I went downtown (to support downtown business) and walked into Brenner’s and, of course, who approached me but Dallas. And we spent an hour and 15 minutes together and had a blast.

[00:06:12] While I bounced around on furniture and asked for measuring tapes and fabric samples, we talked about the city, downtown, Ward 1, our personal lives. We just bonded in a lot of ways, really fast. And as everyone said, he had a huge, warm personality. And he really impacted me, as you can see.

[00:06:43] And after I got the message, I, of course, googled and came to his Facebook page and was scrolling and he posted pictures of people who come in to shop and there I was. And at the end he said, ‘I enjoyed our conversation.’ And it just means so much to me.

[00:07:03] And the shining refrain through everything we talked about was his love and support of Jada and looking forward to their cross-country trip together. So, after his amazing help finding, you know, exactly what I needed very quickly, when I left, I said, ‘Well, you know, you’ve done pretty well today. I guess you probably get a commission and help with your trip.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, yeah.’ So Jada, my best to you and my appreciation for the love. basic love that Dallas showed to the world. I’m grateful.

[00:07:45] Councilor Matt Keating: Thank you, colleagues and friends, for the powerful words of our community’s friend, Dallas Boggs. My heartfelt condolences to Dallas’s family and his friends and social network and truly, he has made an impact. And when Dallas asked, you chipped in, you found a way to chip in because I don’t think I’ve met a better fundraiser than Dallas Boggs. So a moment of silence please, I think would be appropriate.

On March 14:

[00:08:26] Jensina Hawkins (Police Commission): We are starting this evening with a tribute to our late Chair Dallas Boggs. We do have former Commissioner Vi Huynh on board. And so, Vi, we would love to begin with you and your words for the family and partner of Chair Boggs.

[00:08:43] Vi Huynh (Police Commission): Thank you, Chair, for this opportunity for me to come and pay tribute to honor Dallas, who is both a friend and a colleague that I really respected. Dallas’s death is a tragedy and a great loss to the city of Eugene and to his friends and families and colleagues.

[00:09:03] You know, Dallas, as many of you know, was a true and natural-born leader, you know, who had the ability to defuse any tense situations. He shared with us his anecdotes, his stories of his life that worked in the situations to help us understand what he was trying to convey.

[00:09:25] He was charismatic, you know, and to put it lightly, he was the disco ball of any gathering. You know, Dallas, if you’re listening, man, I miss you and I hope you’re in a better place now. But here’s a little quote from a Zen master who also passed away recently. His name was Thich Nhat Hanh, and this is what he said about death.

[00:09:50] He said, ‘Birth and death are only a door through which, you know, we go in and out of. So smile to me and wave goodbye. Tomorrow we shall meet again.’ So Dallas, I hope that we will meet again. Until then, I miss you.

[00:10:10] Alan Leiman (Police Commission): The news was such a blow personally. And right away, my sense of loss for the community was profound and my sadness and sense of loss. He did a wonderful job of herding us cats, we’re cats, and he did a great job of it with grace and respect. And as Vi just said, just to handle it with that, handle tension and diffuse it. And it just reminds us how fragile it all is and you’ll be missed.

[00:10:41] Scott Lemons (Police Commission): Quite honestly, I’m still reeling from this news did not come with a prepared statement. Normally I choose not to in these situations as well. He was such a force of nature. I always looked up to him. His mentorship and his friendship still and will always mean the world to me. I remember when I became chair of the Human Rights Commission I had such imposter syndrome and he took me away to the side and he told me how to maneuver the city and all of this.

[00:11:14] And I lost a friend. The community lost one of the biggest and most caring hearts that they could. And me and him might have usually disagreed on these publicly recorded meetings, but my gosh, would we have a good time afterwards sitting and even talking about it after. I really loved how—and learned so much from him about how to deal with so many passionate people.

[00:11:39] I mean, the Police Commission has got to be one of the most passionate commissions that the city Eugene has, and he was still able to make sure that we are achieving our work plan. But more importantly, he’s just a beautiful soul and he always will be, and he is around me right now. So Dallas, just know I love you. I’m going to make you proud and as well as the commission. I guess that’s all I have to say.

[00:12:06] Silverio Mogart (Police Commission): It was some years ago when I met Dallas. We were at the Police Department and there was a part of a community conversation / engagement with a select group of people and we were interviewing a new possible captain. And that’s when we met Sherri Meisel, and at that point, me and Dallas had found a kinship with the local politics and other things. And I was surprised and grateful to see his name come up as a possible police commissioner to come into this position. And so he was one of my picks, when we interviewed him and brought him on.

[00:12:48] And Dallas and I had a lot of conversations outside of the Police Commission. He actually lived just a stone’s throw away from my office when I was with the City Club. So we met a few times, actually, and just talked on the street, sometimes for quite lengthy conversations, just about different things. So, I do appreciate that.

[00:13:06] And I really think that, yeah, we lost somebody big from the community. I really appreciated Dallas for who he was and what he did and what he knew.

[00:13:17] William Parham (Police Commission): I didn’t know Chair Boggs the best. I actually looked forward to being able to learn more about him and spend more time with him, which kind of just leads me to the next thing is: Tomorrow is never promised. And so the relationships that you have today, honor and cherish those.

[00:13:38] And Chair Boggs leaves behind an amazing legacy in this town and is a source of pride for me as a fellow Black man in this area, in this city, to see him succeed and be such a pillar of community and be such a stakeholder in this city. It’s really something that inspires me and I aspire to honor his legacy by being the best that I can be in this town while I’m here.

[00:14:13] Sean Shivers (Police Commission): Dallas leaves behind a terribly vast void, not just in our community, but in the lives of everybody who’s known him. I don’t think there’s anything any of us can say that can possibly live up to that and to the space that he has occupied in all of our lives.

[00:14:31] So I think all we can do is thank him for his years of service. And I wish the best for his family.

[00:14:41] Councilor Jennifer Yeh: I feel really fortunate that I was able to get to know Dallas. I did not know him well before he started serving on the Police Commission and what I will remember about him is his immense kindness and the fact that he always wanted people to feel welcome. And when he took over for chair, that’s one of the things I think that he really brought to that position, was this idea that when you walked into this room, you were welcome, whoever it was, a community member, someone with EPD, or a commissioner. And I will miss him very much.

[00:15:19] Councilor Alan Zelenka: His passing is a pretty big loss for our community. I knew Dallas through the Police Commission and his job as the chair, which he did a great job as I, I didn’t know him very long, only a couple of years, but I felt like I knew him a long time. He’s kind of one of those guys that you just feel like you’ve known a long time.

[00:15:38] He was so outgoing and gregarious but he was also down to business and results-oriented, and, you know, that showed in how he ran the meetings. But in doing that, he also had this unique skill that is very uncommon, which is that he listened and he made sure everybody was heard in the room. And that’s really hard to do and feel heard and I really admire that in him. It’s an amazing skill and trait.

[00:16:06] He often spoke from his heart and his perspective as a Black man, and that was always valuable to me, but above all, he was just a really, really nice guy and Jada and family know that Eugene is a better place since he was here.

[00:16:24] Dr. Silky Booker (Police Commission): I apologize about being late. My father’s in the hospital at the moment. He had to have a surgery, so I haven’t really had an opportunity to really mourn Dallas the way I really wanted to mourn him. I know it will probably catch up with me later, because I’m trying to keep my dad alive.

[00:16:38] But one thing I can say: Dallas is the one that introduced me to coming to the Police Commission. We started a lot of different projects in Eugene together. Some of them didn’t come to fruition, others did. One thing I can say about him is his ability to motivate, inspire, and connect people was unparalleled.

[00:16:59] He was a man of culture, a man of the community. He was a man of Eugene and of the state of Oregon. And he loved all of them dearly, spoke about each one at length and he was a remarkable dad and husband. But he was more than that. He was my brother, my close friend, and in positions here, he was leadership to me. And there’s no way to replace him.

[00:17:25] I’ll forever miss him. A lot more I’ll have to say, probably at his funeral, but right now just there’s no words to describe what he meant to me and to the town. And hopefully he’s honored by the town, as immensely as he was.

[00:17:40] So hopefully we can make that happen, but thank you for letting me speak about my dear friend and brother, and fellow police commissioner, Dallas.

[00:17:51] Bonnie Dominguez  (Police Commission): I regret that I didn’t get to know him more. I cried a lot after I learned about it. It hurt a lot.

[00:18:01] Because I realized that he made the Police Commission—like, when we went in, we were all new, but he made every one of us call each other ‘Commissioner’—Commissioner So-and-so, Commissioner So-and-so—and that just, I feel like that raised the bar, that made us more professional.

[00:18:15] I feel like he changed the way that the organization felt. The way that he would go in and he wanted a room and he wanted, I think, if I’m not mistaken, didn’t he put, like, little flags back there or something? There are flags right there, you know, but I just thought it was so cute. But then the more that I thought about it, like, the more that he was giving us more a sense of who we were.

[00:18:37] At first, I just felt like a volunteer, but then afterwards, and I know that I felt it in myself that I wanted to do more, but the more that he made it more professional and he dressed up and he just made everything more real.

[00:18:49] We’re volunteers, but he made it feel like we were really something. And that just to me made it feel like there was more that we can do, and then the more that I saw that we were doing more, and it just made us stronger.

[00:19:03] And I think without Dallas things wouldn’t be as strong as they are. And I just hope that we can continue that.

[00:19:10] As for everybody that got to know him more, I am quite envious that I didn’t get to know him more. I guess what I would say is: You guys are all still there and I hope that you would all get to know each other even more if you haven’t already, because it’s beautiful. Because there aren’t a lot of people that give up their time to do this.

[00:19:28] It’s like, you’re all a very select few people that do this. So it’s just, there aren’t a lot of people in the community that do that. It’s hard to find that. So, anyway, that’s it. Thank you.

[00:19:43] Police Chief Chris Skinner: Dallas and I would bond every October with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I mean, it was like clockwork. The first thing he’d ask me is, ‘What are the motors going to look like this year?’ You know, ‘What are your cars—how pink are your cars going to be?’

[00:19:54] And so we had some fun around that. We shared that together. Both of our lives have been touched by breast cancer. People in our families have been touched by that.

[00:20:02] And so I will certainly miss him, and will look upon every October a little bit differently in the future and know that we’re not only doing this in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our breast cancer survivors, but also Dallas Boggs, and so we’ll take great pride in doing that.

[00:20:19] The other thing I would say is: It’s through this tragedy I’ve had an opportunity to talk to some family members and better understand and learn, really, where Dallas’s heart was. We always knew his heart was with Eugene. We know his heart was with his Oregon Ducks.

[00:20:34] I guess what I didn’t understand at the time was just how much his heart was with this police department. And how proud of this police department he was. And it’s with that, that I’m so honored and proud that both Honor Guard and the Motor Team will be a part of the memorial service on the 29th. And so we’re so happy to be working with the family and trying to support them during this difficult time.

[00:20:54] And so, just a lot of pride and a lot of privilege felt by this police chief to have known Dallas Boggs. I also want to read a statement sent to us by Naivasha Tester.  She couldn’t be here. For those of you that don’t know, Naivasha is a police officer here in the city of Eugene Police Department. She’s actually a youth services officer out at Willamette High School, and so she’s usually a part of these meetings, but is not here tonight.

[00:21:15] She says: ‘Chair Boggs was a mentor to any person he came into contact with. He deeply cared for the community and the needs of every citizen. He implemented programs, coordinated events, and created a social platform on social media to connect Black African Americans in the Eugene Springfield area. His creation of the social network made me feel included in the greater network of Eugene and Springfield that allowed access to resources and others to assist navigating various issues or promote business, allowed for growth of each member. His leadership will be greatly missed in this community and I hope we each carry on with his legacy of service to our community. With great love, Naivasha Tester.’

[00:22:01] And the last thing I would say is, I think it’s incumbent on all of us: The true measure of loss is when the name is never spoken again. And so that’s on us to make sure that we don’t let that happen.

[00:22:14] Holly Mathews (Eugene Police Commission Analyst): I just am going to say that I’m going to miss Dallas so much and it’s weird not having him here this evening. He and I, before our meetings, we’d always meet an hour ahead of time and go over the agenda and we’d always talk about personal things. He’s a single dad. I’m a single mom. And so we had that in common, but he spoke a lot about Jada and he was so looking forward to the cross-country trip that you guys were going to take, and he was so proud of your education and your aspirations. And I just know that he loved you very much. And we’re going to miss him. I’m going to miss him and he was a pillar of our community.

[00:22:54] And I, I just, I’m going to miss Dallas. Thank you.

[00:23:03] Jensina Hawkins (Police Commission): As Dallas’s Number 2, I have to say the first time I met him, I thought he was one of the biggest blowhards I’d ever met. He was name-dropping. He was so impressed with all the people he knew and all the work that he was doing. And I thought he was so egotistical. My husband and I had met him at Brenner’s Furniture.

[00:23:25] And over the two or so years that I knew Dallas, it became so evident that that man was not egotistical. He actually really cared about every single name that he inserted into a conversation. And if he knew somebody important, he would make sure you knew them too, and that they knew you. And he was the only name-dropper that I’ve ever met that always made sure that the introduction followed that.

[00:23:51] He talked a lot about his service to the community. Then I got to watch it in action. My husband also was an ambassador for Men Wear Pink, and so we interacted with Dallas there. Because of Dallas, a lot of doors were open in this community. My husband’s now the president of the Lane NAACP. That is directly due to a lot of introductions that Dallas made.

[00:24:15] Me being vice chair here has been directly related to Dallas deciding that he wanted me to be his vice chair and putting me in a position where I could become elected to be vice chair.

[00:24:26] The benefit of going last with a tribute like this is getting to see and agree with all of the things that everybody has said, particularly former Commissioner Dominguez, as far as making those relationships and taking that time to get to know more of these people that we work with, we make decisions with, that we get together with to make recommendations to City Council.

[00:24:47] And it was a privilege to know Dallas, and it was a privilege to call him my close friend and mentor.

[00:24:53] Dallas is so incredibly proud of all of his family, the brothers, the sisters, the daughter. It used to irritate me sometimes because he would not shut up about all of the accomplishments of every single person in his family.

[00:25:05] But he was so incredibly proud and we all should have a person like Dallas Boggs in our corner…

[00:25:10] If any of the family members who are attending, or Dallas’s partner, Sandy, would like to speak to the commission…  Lynette, you’re one of the sisters that we used to hear about all the time.

[00:25:25] Lynette Perez: I just wanted to just take a short opportunity to thank all of you for the work that you did with my brother Dallas in making, I mean, he was so passionate about the Eugene Police Commission, as someone who is a, you know, I serve as a chief deputy city attorney in Little Rock.

[00:25:49] And so we often talked about local government, and comparing notes as to what Eugene was doing and what Little Rock was doing, and I can tell you that even just a few short days before he passed away, that I had reached out to Holly and my brother and said, ‘Hey, we’re starting a Public Safety Commission in Little Rock. Can you send me the bylaws of the Eugene Police Commission?’

And Holly (Mathews) and my brother sent those bylaws and I can tell you that they’ve been integrated into the bylaws of the city of Little Rock, which will start a similar commission and will have its inaugural meeting and will adopt those bylaws on March 21. And so it just goes to show, that even your work, all of you collectively, it is carrying on and it has reach even beyond the boundaries of your own municipality.

[00:26:53] I think that Martin Luther King said it best, that ‘Anyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ And I just thank all of you for your service to the community, and I just know, I’m so proud of the work that my brother contributed in his public service there in Eugene.

[00:27:16] I take a lot of credit in that I was the sibling that in 1985 moved to Eugene, and it was because of a visit to me, when I was a grad student at the University of Oregon, that he decided to make Eugene his home. And I left after a few years, but he never left and Eugene is definitely a better place because of him.

[00:27:45] And so again, thank you for just being a part of his journey. Of course, we will all miss him, but as I look at the bylaws, even in Little Rock, just know that a part of him and a part of you will reach even beyond the borders of Lane County.

[00:28:06] Sandy Solmiren: Thank you for inviting me to this. This is just a really nice tribute to Dallas. I have met several of you in the meeting that I attended back in December. So, it’s really nice to see you all again too. I can tell you one thing, that he was so passionate about being (on the) Police Commission.

[00:28:24] He would call me like, three days prior to it, to tell me all about what the agenda was going to be and then that evening he would always call. ‘Now, remember you cannot call me because I’m in the meeting.’

[00:28:39] So then he would always, always call me right afterwards because he was so excited to let me know how it went. So I just want to let you know that each one of you touched him as well as he touched you and he was so passionate about what he was doing and each and every one of you, I feel like I know you because he has spoken to me about you over the last a few years that him and I had reconnected, and he was just really proud of all the work that you all were doing.

[00:29:06] So thank you for being part of his life and allowing him to be a part of Eugene and your lives as well.

A tribute to the late Dallas Boggs from the Eugene City Council and from the Eugene Police Commission.

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